Give to the team. Overall effort. Live in the moment. Defer to each other.
These are all elements of the G.O.L.D. Standard the Augustana volleyball team is using to propel itself through the 2019 season.
The team has upheld this standard, as it holds a 10-3 record for the season thus far. Two of those wins come from the team’s most recent return to the Elmen Center on Sept. 27 and 28, where it achieved victories over both the University of Mary and Minot State University.
Despite losses, head coach Jennifer Jacobs is optimistic about the team’s chance for redemption, as the team will face Wayne State and Northern State University for a second time this season after losing to them both 3-1 earlier in September.
“Northern we could’ve upset, but did not upset,” Jacobs said about an earlier match against Northern State this year. “They beat us in four, but we [play] them the very last weekend of the season at home. It will be very nice to end our conference season at home, as well. Especially against a team like that.”
Jacobs said the home atmosphere will be a welcome change after weeks of travel.
“We are really excited to be home,” Jacobs said. “It is something we have been in need of.”
Six members are new to this home, providing the team with refreshing change. According to Jacobs, the new members have already had time to develop chemistry with the nine returning starters by working together at camps earlier this spring and summer. Jacobs strategically planned to combat the short preseason by hitting the ground running.
This unity is felt even by the newcomers, as freshman libero Erika Bute cited team chemistry as a strength.
“Our team gets along really well on and off the court,” Bute said. “There is always all-out effort by everyone on the team.”
This effort is paramount when playing in a conference like the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. With 10 teams in the conference ranked among the top 25 in the nation, every team is a rival and each game is important, coach Jacobs said.
Jacobs said that no matter the game, the team will have its work cut out for it.
“You know [the match] is always going to be a dogfight,” Jacobs said.“Our conference is just skewed in that way where it is a dogfight every night.”
Senior outside hitter/libero Sophia Terwilliger agrees with Jacobs’s description of the cohesive, goal-oriented team fighting for victories.
“Everyone is really good that we play,” Terwilleger said. “And we have been playing really well. We are really pumped for the rest of the season. We really want to make it to the Pentagon.”
The synthesis of the Vikings’ camaraderie and grit is shown through their weekly “Nails & Glue” award. Each week, every player votes for the team member that most exemplifies being tough as nails, as well as the one that holds the team together like glue.
“Whatever we do has to come from the team,” Jacobs said. “We read this article about the British rowing team. In the 2006 Olympics, they decided instead of having too many rules for their team, they just decided the theme was to ask, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’”
This mindset simplifies every decision the team faces. Jacobs challenges the team to uphold the same approach, as she trades extensive policies for a team-centered mentality.
The Vikings will bring this approach to its two home games this weekend, as they take on Concordia-St. Paul at 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 and Minnesota State University at 2 p.m. on Oct. 5.
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